A bit of NYC experimental-music history: Issue Project Room was founded ten years ago by photographer Suzanne Fiol as a performance series in the East Village garage-workspace of Issue magazine. Over the past decade, the venerable venue has persevered through legal battles over use of the name, the loss of three spaces (before winning a 20-year lease on its current marble showroom in Downtown Brooklyn) and, most significantly, Fiol’s untimely passing in 2009.
On August 31, Issue kicks off an extended, multiple-venue anniversary celebration with a return engagement by trance-inducing Syrian pop singer Omar Souleyman. The matinee show also includes the homemade horns and electric guitar of 75 Dollar Bill; Bobb Trimble’s psychedelic-rock outfit Flying Spiders; and Steve Gunn’s hard-driving country blues.
They’ll carry on with a full slate of old friends over the next two months, including new-music pioneers Charlemagne Palestine (September 3), Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros and Yasunao Tone; avant-folk/bluesmen Richard Youngs and Bill Orcutt; soundscape architects Oren Ambarchi, William Basinski, Olivia Block and Aki Onda; new takes on jazz by Cooper-Moore, Dawn of Midi, Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark and Matana Roberts; Swiss sound poets Jacques Demierre and Vincent Barras; and downtown mainstays Anthony Coleman and Marc Ribot. That’s downtown Manhattan, by the way, although these days Downtown Brooklyn is setting a new standard.—Kurt Gottschalk